Help Save Archaeological Sites and Transform Lives

logoThe People not Stones Project

Is it possible to protect archaeological sites and cultural heritage for future generations while enhancing the economic status of the communities in which they are based? A new idea from the folks at the Sustainable Preservation Initiative thinks they can do just that. They have come up with a unique paradigm that alleviates poverty by empowering entrepreneurs and creating jobs through local businesses whose financial success is dependent upon the preservation of archaeological sites.

The People Not Stones model incentivizes communities to preserve their cultural heritage sites as precious economic assets – ones that draw tourists to the sites. With the influx of people, there is demand for the art and handicrafts of the community. Production increases along with the need for stores, snack bars, showrooms, guides, and brochures. A win-win situation for the heritage and the community.

 The goal that People Not Stones will create transformative opportunities for local residents while saving invaluable archaeological sites for future generations to study and enjoy.

With that goal in mind the Sustainable Preservation Initiative has launched its first crowdfunding campaign on, an online platform where people can create fundraising campaigns to tell their story and get the word out about their important mission. They told us, “We have had great success in empowering entrepreneurs, creating jobs, and preserving cultural heritage. Now we want to do it at more sites and let everyone know about our new paradigm that saves sites and transforms lives.  Crowdfunding offers the opportunity to do both with a brand new audience as of yet unfamiliar with SPI”

The Mission: To alleviate poverty through economic development and save the sites of Bandurria, Peru, and Chotuna – Chornancap, Peru. 

 The Funding Goal: $12, 000 with only 10 days to go!


 More about Chotuna – Chornancap

The archaeological site of Chotuna – Chornancap is a 235-acre monumental temple and pyramid complex where several remarkable, one-of-a-kind ancient royal tombs have been discovered (See National Geographic article here). Similar to Bandurria, however, the community living near the site is very poor. There are few jobs, little income and no opportunity to escape this cycle of poverty. Our project invests in local textiles, metal embossing, and gourd artisans, funding the construction of a facility for artisan training and production and a sales area for their work at the site. It also includes a picnic area and snack bar to generate additional revenue for the community. Our funding will also build a store and showroom at a major museum (Museo Bruning) for these handicrafts in the nearby city of Lambayeque where guidebooks and brochures for the Chotuna site will also be available.

Can you help save these sites and transform lives? Click here to make a tax-deductible contribution at indiegogo today and spread the word by liking the campaign on Facebook, posting about the crowdfunding campaign on your own Facebook page, retweeting on Twitter, or pinning the project video on Pinterest!

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